Albuquerque’s oldest cab company is making a big change to try to take back some of the business that’s shifted to ride-sharing services over the last few years.
The old “Yellow-Checker Cab” company was recently bought out by a new owner that’s renamed the taxi business “zTrip.”
The new owners are positioning themselves as a so-called “better choice” by combing elements of traditional taxicab services with those of ride-share services.
“We like to bill ourselves as the perfect hybrid between a rideshare vehicle and a taxi cab,” said Bill George, President and CEO of zTrip.
Over the last few months, George’s company has been buying up old taxi businesses across the U.S., including Yellow-Checker Cab in Albuquerque. So far, zTrip is now in 19 U.S. cities across states like Colorado, Texas, Kansas and Florida.
“We saw what the fleets were in Albuquerque,” said George. “There was a lack of an investment, there was a lack of investment in technology in the vehicles.”
An old fleet of cars is just one of the reasons some people say they’ve turned away from traditional cab services in recent years.
“They’re a little sketchy, smelly,” Albuquerque resident Jennifer told KRQE News 13 Wednesday when asked about her thoughts on old cab services.
Others have complained about the comfort and price of old cabs.
“It’s just charging you while you’re at a red light, so the meters going up,” said Jessica of old-style cab service.
Meanwhile, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have taken off in popularity in the metro area. Those services hire local drivers to use their own private cars to give rides. With Uber and Lyft, customers can only get a ride through their use of a smartphone app.
CEO Bill George says zTrip is different than ride sharing.
“We want to be a better choice from the safety aspect, from the insurance aspect,” said George.
The company says it screens and hires all zTrip drivers. The company also owns the entire fleet of cars used for rides, including handicap accessible vehicles.
To compete with on-demand ride-sharing services, George says zTrip also has an app that works just like Uber or Lyft’s. George says their pricing is comparable too, with no surge pricing as is commonly seen with ride-sharing services.
People can also call zTrip directly to book a ride, or hail a driver from the side of the street.
“Here’s what a taxicab does really well, here’s what a rideshare does really well, what if we bridged that gap and put both of them together?” said George.
Albuquerque is zTrip’s first service area in New Mexico, but the company says it’s still looking to expand.